Women becoming more savvy about car careWritten by Nick Shultz | | firstname.lastname@example.org
There are about
102 million licensed women drivers in the United States, according to the 2006 census. Today, women are more likely to be involved in deciding where and when to have their vehicles serviced than ever before. Automobile care and maintenance was once almost exclusively handled by the man of the house. Not anymore.
A recent study conducted by the Automotive Service Association indicated that in some types of repair shops as much as 64 percent of the service and maintenance work was being authorized by women. In most independent repair shops that number is closer to 50 percent. Still, that’s an astounding turnaround from the models of a few years ago. It means that service repair facilities have had to learn what it takes to satisfy their women clients versus the traditional male customer they had been servicing for years.
Those numbers also suggest that women are much more comfortable discussing their vehicle maintenance needs and concerns with service shops.
I am a firm believer in regular maintenance. Apparently, not everyone is. The Independent Garage Owners of America (IGOA) recently contracted to have a survey done on preventive maintenance trends in the United States and their findings were astonishing. According to the IGOA survey, more than 60 percent of scheduled maintenance goes unperformed each year. That’s an amazing figure. The survey indicates that about 60 percent of the used cars on the road have not had proper maintenance. Scary stuff!
With more and more women being more involved in the vehicle service work and maintenance decision making process these days, it is important that women be educated in how to follow vehicle maintenance schedules. It is also very important that women know and understand their rights when service work is being performed.
A woman should be aware of what Ohio law demands of service repair shops. You have the right, under Ohio law, to request a written estimate if the expected cost of the service repairs will exceed $25. You further have the right to be notified if the initial estimate of repairs will be exceeded by 10 percent. Always execute this right. Do not leave the service repair shop without a written estimate, no matter how well you know the people you are dealing with. You should also demand that the service repair shop call you if the estimated cost of repairs will be exceeded.
Furthermore, Ohio law demands that the service repair shop include on the repair order an exact description of your concern. Make sure the full description of your concern is clearly outlined on the face of the repair order before you sign it. Once repairs have been completed by the repair facility, they are required by Ohio law to detail clearly the work that was actually performed. The complete description of work done must also include the name of the technician who performed it. Before you pay for the service work make sure you can understand everything detailed of the repair order.
You also have the right to carry home with you, or look at, any parts that were replaced. I urge you, ladies, to also exercise this right. Take the parts home with you just in case any issues should develop with the work performed. You can always dispose of the used parts at a later date.
Having your vehicle serviced should not turn into a nightmare. Understanding your rights as a consumer, and then executing them, is a great way to ensure that you are not taken advantage of by unscrupulous service repair shops, regardless if you are a man or a woman.
Nick Shultz is an instructor of Automotive Technologies at Owens Community College. He is an arbitrator for the Better Business Bureau who specializes in cases involving the Ohio and Michigan Lemon laws. He is a certified master automotive technician by ASE, General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. Shultz, a Toledo native, will take questions from readers at email@example.com.